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Il Diotto di Scarperia

“Il Diotto” is a celebration which recalls the annual event (September 8) of the antique investiture ceremony for the Vicar, a character who administered the rapport between Firenze and Castel di San Barnaba, called Scarperia on account of the Fiorentina Republic. Scarperia, which was founded by the Fiorentina Republic on September 7, 1306, and to which it has always remained true, every year recalls that which was reality long ago, when every year on September 8 the new Vicar, sent from Firenze, succeeded the old, who gave a feast in honour of the new arrival.
An antique feast day broken off for the period of the great war and taken up again in the 60s “Il Diotto” starts with the historic procession of Scarperia together with the historic procession of Firenze crossing the city’s centre, to arrive in Piazza de’ Vicari, where in front of the magnificent Palazzo the celebration for the incoming Vicar begins.

Roll of drums and trumpet blasts accompany the great spectacle of the Castel San Barnaba and Uffizi flagwavers, after which the Master of the Games finally starts the five races on the programme, which consist of Knife Throwing, Race on Bricks, Tug of War, Barrel race and the Greasy Pole, at the end of these games the incoming Vicar will present the Diotto prize to the team which has won the most points.

The teams participating in the games are sustained by fervent supporters, armed with fire crackers and coloured smoke bombs.
The games, of rustic origin, are the genuine expression of the strong Scarperia people, who in their artisan jobs and in the fields have always distinguished themselves with their talents. Il Diotto is not only a one day celebration, but each year the preceding and subsequent day of the actual date are assigned to cultural, musical and folklore appointments which turn Sparperia into a first class tourist attraction.
For some time the Sunday preceding Il Diotto, has been dedicated to “Renaissance Day”, which takes the town’s historic centre back to the 400s. On this date in September, every year the historic centre of Scarperia is closed to traffic, and the citizens, mostly dressed in renaissance costumes, give life to scenes of outdoor life.
In the ancient alleyways, covered with earth and straw, you can find entire families intent on reproducing that which was the true life in the Renaissance era. You can find musicians, artists, jugglers, blacksmiths, embroiderers, monks, clowns, animal sellers, guards, ladies, cavaliers, and the never lacking (we are in Scarperia) knife throwers.

In this contest of historic recollection, it is possible to eat food prepared with ancient recipes, paying with the local coins, the “Scarperiese florin”, which for the anniversary is reproduced and exchanged for Euro by the “treasurers” in costume.
Those who have the opportunity to visit Scarperia during these days will find it amusing to take part in the Renaissance Sunday. Here the children enjoy themselves entering the spellbound town, where they can feel like actors and spectators in a modern fairytale, where the past and the present are mixed up; and it is a truly unique occasion for the parents to assist in the magic in all its wonder before a scene of the past never before seen.

Pictures by Sandro Santioli


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